A typical workweek for employees in the United States consists of 40 hours. However, many workers actually spend more time performing their jobs. For jobs that are paid on an hourly basis, anything over 40 hours is usually considered overtime. Although many salaried (exempt) workers work 50-60 hours a week, they may not be eligible for overtime pay depending on their company or employment contract. The Illinois Overtime law (called the Illinois Minimum Wage Law) mirrors the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in many ways. Similar to the FLSA, the Illinois overtime law requires that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay equal to 1.5 times their regular hourly pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week. With so many employees working remotely now in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, it may be difficult to track employees’ hours regarding overtime if they are working from home.
Since remote employees are generally entitled to the same legal protections that on-site workers have, working remotely can present unique challenges that should be addressed to ensure a company is legally compliant. Employers have certain obligations regarding employees’ hours and wages for overtime pay. As a business owner, accurate record-keeping is imperative. Detailed reporting ensures that management and workers are following proper procedures and company policies.
Businesses throughout the country, including Illinois companies, have implemented remote-work arrangements for their employees due to the coronavirus outbreak. In many cases, this is the first time a company may have allowed its employees to work from home. Essential businesses have remained open during the pandemic, such as banks, grocery stores, and hospitals. Non-essential businesses were temporarily closed, including service industries like hair and nail salons, gyms, and fitness centers. These companies had to pause operations since those workers cannot do their jobs from home. On the other hand, office workers in the business field who do the majority of their work on a computer can perform their duties remotely as long as they have a computer and an Internet connection.
Many hourly workers punch in and out so their employer knows the exact hours they work. However, if the “time clock” is at the office or warehouse and now employees are working from home, how are hours recorded? Employers should specify guidelines and expectations for those who are now working outside of the office. In some cases, a software program can monitor a worker’s time online. Other companies might require timesheets to be completed by each employee using Google docs or Microsoft Excel.
Any new work-from-home policy should outline how non-salaried telecommuting employees can accurately record their hours worked. In certain situations, those hours that are worked in excess of those scheduled per workweek may need the advanced approval of a supervisor. However, even if employees are instructed not to work more than 40 hours a week, they still must be paid overtime if they do.
As an Illinois employer, you are legally responsible for adhering to federal wage and overtime pay laws. At the experienced Miller Law Firm, P.C., we provide effective employment defense representation to small and mid-size businesses. Attorney Richard J. Miller knows how to successfully resolve your legal concerns about wage violations. Our knowledgeable Schaumburg, IL employment lawyers will help defend your rights and preserve your company’s reputation. Call our office today at 847-995-1205 to schedule your free consultation.